Ah, the dreaded video interview. You might have nightmares of answering a question while still on mute, having your computer freeze mid-elevator pitch, or your cat walking across your keyboard as you try to explain how detail-oriented you are. And while virtual interviews present a unique set of challenges, they don’t have to be anxiety-inducing. Keep reading for five video interview mistakes you should avoid and how to do so professionally.
Having A Messy Background
One of the detriments to interviewing over video is that you are exposing your personal space. With a traditional interview, you’re traveling to their office and thus don’t have to worry about presenting an organized and professional environment. Keep your area clear of clutter, make sure there’s plenty of natural light, and limit the amount of stuff in the background.
You’ve seen the horror stories of people not wearing pants on Zoom calls. Don’t be that person! Make sure you are dressed professionally from head to toe (even if you think you’ll only be on camera from the waist up.) Additionally, consider how specific colors and patterns look on camera. A good rule of thumb is to stick with neutrals and clean lines. A blazer with a plain shirt underneath is always a great bet!
Not Practicing Beforehand
No preparing before your interview is one of the biggest video interview mistakes you can make. With all of the complications that technology can bring, you do not want to be caught off guard! Test out your video camera (don’t forget to check your background while you’re at it!), make sure your audio works okay, and most importantly, find a spot in your house that gets excellent Wi-Fi. Most employers will be understanding if you have technical difficulties. Still, it can throw off your confidence if you have to repeat things or move locations to find better Wi-Fi in the middle of your interview.
Not Limiting Distractions
When video interviewing from your home, this is a big one. Put the dogs outside, find something to occupy the kids, and turn your phone on silent. Now, we understand that some interruptions are inevitable. The mailman might set off your dog, or your kid desperately needs fruit snacks at the most inconvenient times. In these cases, it can be helpful to be upfront about your environment right when the interview starts. For example, say, “Before we get started, I did want to warn you that my 3-year-old is in the next room. I explained to him that I had an important meeting, but we all know how that goes!” Interviewers will appreciate your honesty and communication.
Not Taking Advantage of the Benefits Video Interviewing Offers
Last but perhaps most importantly, do not miss an opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of video interviewing. That’s right, along with all the challenges, there are good sides to a virtual interview! Unlike an in-person interview, you can surround yourself with tools to help guide you through an interview. Think of answers to tough questions like “what is your greatest weakness?” or some quick notes on recent accomplishments the company has gained. Another great thing to have handy is some questions to ask when you get to the interview’s final minutes. These can all be transcribed in a word document on a second screen, jotted down on sticky notes surrounding your laptop, or even just written out in a notebook on your desk.
Don’t be intimidated by these video interview mistakes
In the end, you don’t have to be intimidated by video interviews. While they do come with a unique set of challenges, they also present a few opportunities to show your personality and prepare ahead of time. Are you interested in more interview advice? Explore our library here!